In April I opened my own Personal Training studio.
In May, my grandmother passed away.
On July 4th, my dog died.
All of these events were stressful, emotional, and challenging. Dealing with these life experiences meant missed workouts, off-plan meals, and schedule changes. And while I am all about preaching dedication and consistency and rolling with life’s ups and downs rather than making excuses, let’s be real: there are times when life brings us very valid excuses and our diet and exercise programs need to take a back seat.
Deaths, job losses, dealing with the end of our relationship and other stressors are emotionally difficult and draining. Times like these force us to prioritize other things and sometimes even just we’re too exhausted to focus on our health and fitness.
You know what? That’s ok.
Taking a break and listening to your body or getting your life in order is fine. The last thing you need is added stress caused by guilt over missed workouts or poor diet choices.
Instead of feeling bad about it, here are five ways to cope when life throws a curveball, without losing all your progress.
Accept that which you cannot control and focus on that which you can
You cannot control whether someone dies, you or your spouse loses their job, or having to end your marriage. What you can control is what you eat, how you interact with other people, how active you are and so on. Rather than wasting time and energy being upset or being angry or wishing things were different, focus all of your energy on the things which you can control.
Inertia is powerful. The less we move the less we want to move. The more we move the more we want to move. If you’re dealing with something difficult you may not be up for an intense workout, but yoga or walking can be very healing. Just moving through life and getting back some of your regular activities is also very powerful at moving us forward.
Nourish your body
When we are dealing with something difficult emotionally we typically either stop eating all together or we seek out comfort food. Neither one of these things is nourishing our bodies. Not eating, even though you don’t feel like it, isn’t good. Your body needs nutrients to heal. Eating a box of Oreos to try and feel better is clearly not nourishing either. Instead, look for healing foods like green juices and smoothies, oatmeal and fruit. These things can be comforting without causing more stress and making you feel sick.
Smile, laugh, and spend time with people you love
There’s nothing more healing than being with other people, smiling and laughing. When you’re struggling do not isolate yourself. Hopefully you have people in your life who love you who you can talk to or just be with to relieve some of the pain or stress.
All experiences teach us something and you can learn and you can grow from that which is difficult. Taking the opportunity to examine a difficult situation and think about what it taught you is enormously helpful to move you forward.
There are going to be times when diet and exercise is just not the main priority.
Give yourself a break and allow yourself to grieve. Perhaps what feels good isn’t your usual CrossFit and chicken breast but rather yoga and a green smoothie. This is perfectly fine. Do what makes your body and soul feel good.
Give yourself some room, take some time to reflect, spend time with people you love, cry it out and then get back to normal slowly if you have to, but getting back to normal will also feel good too.
Do something good for you today and feel better tomorrow.